The New England Patriots‘ 2016 training camp is underway. Players fight for practice repetitions and playing time to earn one of the 53 spots on the roster. They have until late August, when each team has to start making its roster cuts, to secure a role.
Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we’ll continue the series with tight end Bear Pascoe.
Name: Bear Pascoe
Position: Tight end
Jersey number: 83
Size: 6’5, 265 lbs.
2015 review: In April 2015, Bear Pascoe signed with the Chicago Bears as an unrestricted free agent. The veteran spent the entire training camp with the team but was released during roster cuts early September. Three months later, he signed with the Bears’ NFC North rival Detroit Lions.
Pascoe was active for all three of the Lions’ final regular season games, seeing time on both offense and special teams. Overall, he played 49 of a possible 189 offensive snaps (25.9%), while also adding 13 snaps on special teams. However, Pascoe served mostly as a blocker and therefore finished the 2015 season without a catch or any other stat.
The Lions did not re-sign Pascoe when he hit free agency following the 2015 season.
2016 preview: Last week, the Patriots signed Pascoe to a one-year, veteran minimum deal with a cap hit of $600,000. The contract reflects both his 2015 season as well as his standing on New England’s current tight end depth chart: as of right now, the 30-year old is a camp body.
Pascoe’s chances of beating out his competition to earn a backup role behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett project to be slim. After all, he offers little upside when compared to his fellow tight ends and has limitations as both a pass catcher and a blocker. While his experience is a plus, it is likely not enough to earn him a spot on New England’s 53-man roster.
Therefore, do not be surprised to see Pascoe’s name on the list of early roster cuts.
Bear Pascoe is one of the more experienced skill position players on the team and as such can help out as a tutor for the younger players while simultaneously offering depth and allowing Gronkowski and Bennett to sit out some reps. However, it seems unlikely that his role will expand any further – and also that he makes the team.